DoJ investigation reveals Amazon-Apple collusion that almost was

DoJ investigation reveals Amazon-Apple conspiracy that almost was
We reported this morning on the hot news that the Department of Justice is suing Apple and several publishers for collusion and price fixing. Most of the publishers have now settled, which basically means that from the consumers’ point of view it’s all over but the shouting – the terms of the settlement means that most of the publishing industry has already agreed to end their deal with Apple, and to renegotiate their deals with Amazon and other ebook sellers to allow for price competition.

One thing that may never be settled, but is very unsettling, is a throw-away line from the DoJ report that indicates that prior to Apple’s alleged collusion with the publishing industry, they had met with and contemplated colluding with Amazon itself. The idea was to split up the media market, with Apple ceding ebook publishing to Amazon, and in return Amazon would step aside when it comes to music and movies. Specifically, the DoJ report says:

That sort of deal would have let both companies leverage their near-monopoly to price things however they wanted. We should all be happy that Apple and Amazon didn’t pursue that path, but in the meantime we’d love to hear more about this deal, how far it got, and what eventually scuttled it. This is one of those times when Apple benefits from not having a “don’t be evil” motto a la Google – can you imagine how hard pundits would be coming down on Google if they were caught in this situation?

Since the DoJ is not likely to try and punish Apple and Amazon for things they only contemplated, we probably won’t hear much more about the Apple-Amazon conspiracy. But with this sort of thing getting outed, it makes you wonder how often other companies get away with it.

source: DoJ ruling via AllThingsD

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